Like most young people who are dumb, I entertained a lot of delusional ideas.
I was frustrated that the world didn’t recognize me for how great my “ideas” were. I’d complain about having to “put in my time” (shouldn’t I get to skip all that?? I’m so smart!!).
I even once emailed Guy Kawasaki, a famous Silicon Valley personality, and asked him how to get more speaking gigs. He replied and basically laid down the law by telling me (paraphrased), “You want to know how to get more speaking gigs? Then do something meaningful. Once you do, you’ll have more speaking invitations than you know what to do with. But right now, you haven’t done anything notable.”
It stung to hear that. Like a 14-year-old girl, I thought to myself, “he just doesn’t understand me.” But later I realized he was right.
* * *
That’s why it amused me to read a Reddit thread called “Millionaires of Reddit: How did you strike it rich? What did you do after you made your fortune?”
Some random Internet dude left this whiny comment, complaining about the “lack of capital”:
“If you don’t have access to capital you cannot become wealthy. You do not have access to capital unless your family is already wealthy and can therefore provide the capital.
Its easy to take a mediocre idea and make it profitable if you have the capital available to do it. Its nearly impossible to take a great idea and make it profitable if you don’t have capital no matter how hard you work.”
Right. The only thing holding you back from your idea is a lack of capital — EVEN THOUGH:
- More than any other time in history, the average person can start a business for less than $100
- If you had $500,000 in your bank account, what exactly would you do with it? If you ask these whiners a specific question about how they’d deploy their capital, they suddenly get very quiet
- The “lack of capital” is a convenient excuse to do nothing since you can point at macro-economic trends and complain the world isn’t fair. Which is exactly what this guy does in the comment thread
Here’s a blunt truth: It’s supposed to be hard.
It’s SUPPOSED to be hard to start a successful business or create world-class art or be famous.
And to be blunt, if you can’t figure out how, you don’t deserve to play at those levels.
A famous venture-capital firm had an FAQ on its website. The question said, “How do we reach you?” and the answer said, “We don’t encourage you send your pitch unsolicited. The best entrepreneurs leverage their personal connections to get a personal introduction to one of us at the firm.”
LOSERS SAY: Waa, the deck is stacked against me. I didn’t go to Stanford! I’ll never do it! I hate the President for his tax policy! And then they go back to eating Chipotle.
WINNERS SAY: Shit! I don’t know anyone in that venture firm. I’m going to start meeting other entrepreneurs and learning how they did it. I’ll develop my pitch, refine it, meet new friends, friends of friends, ask everyone’s advice, make more changes, and finally get an introduction to a VC. And then I’ll make my pitch.
Exhausting? Good. It’s supposed to be hard.
I know dozens of people who claimed they wanted to go to elite universities like Harvard or Stanford, but when the time came, they didn’t apply, saying, “I could never get in.” Guess what? They’re right. And because they didn’t even apply, they didn’t deserve to get in.
If you want to start a business, the answers are right in front of you on sites like mine, iwillteachyoutoberich.com. If you want to understand venture capital, you can learn about every aspect of it from sites like venturehacks.com. Hell, if you want to learn how to tie your shoelaces in awesome ways, you can check out sites like this one.
The answers are in front of you. If you can’t figure it out, you don’t deserve to play at those levels.
Now, is everyone capable of getting into Harvard? Or starting a multi-million-dollar business? Of course not. But if your chief excuse is “I need ___” or “the world isn’t fair,” and you don’t even take a chance at trying, you don’t deserve it.
It’s supposed to be hard.
Same for starting a business. How many millions of people have said, “I’d start a company if only I had ___” (an idea, the time, funding)?
They don’t deserve the benefits of being CEO.
* * *
The beautiful part is, you can do this.
First, you’ve already far ahead of 99% of people, simply by virtue of reading material like this.
Second (I like this one), because most people are so horrible at taking action, by doing just the BASIC work, you can get disproportionate rewards. I call this the Craigslist Penis Effect.
Third, you know that unlike most people, who try to focus on a little bit of everything — let me save money on lattes! clothes! appetizers! — you understand the power of psychology and focus on a few Big Wins and psychological barriers.
For example, if you don’t have enough time after work, you could complain about or how your boss is an ass, or how you’re so tired after work…or you could test and implement a new time-management system and save 1 hour/day.
If you want to lose 25lbs, you could start by targeting just one thing — walking up the stairs at work — and reward yourself when you lose just 5lbs. For a lot of people, they’d rather dream about losing 25lbs than actually lose 5.
And you can get an accountability buddy — a friend who can help keep you on track — without making you feel guilty or useless. Someone who WANTS to help you, because they have the same goals you do.
This stuff isn’t easy. That’s why so many people dream about writing a book, getting 6-pack abs, and generating passive income. They’d rather dream about being a millionaire then start earning $1K/month on the side.
It’s supposed to be hard. But if you can do it — if you can acknowledge your psychological barriers, build systems to help you become successful, and surround yourself with winners who will challenge you to do more — you can reap the truly disproportionate rewards of being the best.
I’ve been writing IWT for over 8 years. I hope I can help you become your very best self for years to come.
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